Deus volt; Deus mittit me.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Oh IRELAND!--Post the Fifth


Fáilte chuig mo tráthchuid dheireanach!
(Welcome to my final installment!)

May 9, 2016

The Rock of Cashel--wish we could have gone but it was under scaffolding.
It was back to Dublin, the next morning. I rode with a little sadness since the trip was drawing thin towards the ending. It seemed to be a bit less real and I felt my grasp on Eire slipping--unable to 'own' it as well. We passed the Rock of Cashel, a huge castle half girded in scaffolding. It was a much more imposing place than Blarney Castle.


We couldn't take pics even of the stupid displays!



For B--a picture of Bacon
For some reason we did almost the same roundabout tour complete with reminders of who had which bridge or statue. We went past the Aisling Hotel and the Floozy in the Jacuzzi (a statue of What'shername in the pond in front of the hotel). I was hoping there would be time to see Christchurch with all its Viking artifacts, but it was not to be. 
The Bard and me

The square at Trinity College
We DID go to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells. Unfortunately they wouldn't allow photography in the exhibits at all, even though they were just large posters explaining the book. I could understand not allowing pics of the actual book...but the exhibits?

My size of library
So when I got upstairs to see the actual book, it was so very underwhelming, that I looked around for the real book. I mean they had it open to two of the least interesting, least illuminated pages in the whole book. I should have spent more time taking it all in, but I was so disgusted with it all that I kept going up the stairs to the library. 
 
Lisa in a classroom hall at Trinity College
There we actually COULD take pics, and did. Rows and rows of stacks, ancient books all. I tried to take pics of a few, but we couldn't actually get past the ropes to look at the books. Brother!

Afterwards, with the girls pulling at me to hurry, we looked around Trinity campus. I got to see Mercury. 
Mercury! Who knew?

ELK hunting at Trinity
The astronomy department had a telescope trained on it, apparently, but clouds had just obscured it, so they were showing previous images. We also went inside several of the halls. Mostly you couldn't go that far in because the students were taking exams. We went into the science building as they promised a museum, but only found a few things in the main hall.

Not sure what the big ball meant


After a trip across the street to the knocker shop (I should have gotten us a door knocker for the new door we plan to get someday) we scrambled aboard the bus (having missed the statue of Molly Mallone also) and took off for Lucan and Finnstown Castle Hotel. 
Just heading up to classes
 
I guess that was supposed to be the castle we stayed in, but it didn't seem to be anything but a hotel. They did have four peacocks and a couple of fountains and 2 summerhouses. We took lots of pictures. 

Another summerhouse, this one at Finnstown House
 

The ceiling at Finnstown House where we stayed our last night
May 10, 2016

The girls were supposed to wake us at 4 the next morning so we could make sure our bags were the right weight. Not only didn't they, but we were late and I was sprinting for the bus last. I tried to never be last on the bus since Murt made such a big deal of it. 

He strutted around and screamed like he owned the place.
When I got there, he was about to loft my suitcase in the bus and told me it was over weight. Lisa went to get her scales (she wasn't leaving until noon to go to Amsterdam) and it was 20 lbs over! What a pain. I ended up having to give Ross several things to carry in his backpack for me, and donate my 500 pennies to charity since Murt didn't want them either, right at the airport with several people yammering at me to dump my towel and dump this and dump that. 
My bags ended up being just under the mark and I had a headache from all the chipping.

Taking off. The plane was about half full.
The flight to Chicago was so empty that there were whole rows empty. Mom lay across them for a nap for part of the time, and sat next to me for part. I watched the rest of Tomorrowland and tried to look out the window. Unfortunately they had us close the blinds so people could sleep. When I opened it, we were above the clouds and it was so very bright that I couldn't see anything anyway. 
I tried to see anything of Chicago (since THE DAY IT RAINED GLASS and NO JOY FOR THE DEATHLESS are set there) but it was completely socked in and invisible. There wasn't time to see anything in the city, either. So I spent 3 + hours wandering the airport. I got Chinese food and hung out with the other people from the tour. At the last minute they changed our gate and we had to scramble. It turned out one of the planes had caught fire. Luckily it wasn't ours.

What I could see of Eire before it socked in
The next flight was both more crowded and less food was served (pretzels and juice for me). I waited an hour for Lon to come. I was dying having sat for like 18 hours, so I finally crawled into the back of the car and went to sleep. 
 I was really lucky I didn't have Lisa's flight home. She apparently had plane trouble and had to stay fastened in her seatbelt for the entire four hour flight. But that's her story to tell.
Everybody at home was so casual about missing me--like I'd just stepped out for a walk or something. Sir Riles Barksalot seemed to have forgotten me and cowered against Bit's feet. Luckily his defection was short-lived and lasted only until dinnertime...:o)
Coming down from a trip like this is interesting. I find my head split evenly between the lush greenness of Ireland and the ancient stones and the neat little cottages,versus the shrieking cicadas and 118 degree heat of the Arizona desert. I must say, though it is more otherworldly and remote, I'd rather be in Ireland this summer. 
My blue door
There are many places we missed that I'd still like to visit. The Waterford glassworks, other castles and cities (Belfast, Dunlough, all over the North, Dunluce, etc), gone swimming in the sea (I know it's cold but I've swum in snow melt for crying out loud), spent time in more cemetaries, and found my McKusick forebears. I'd like to go back when I've had a whole lot more practice with the whistle and feel more confident playing with people over there (gotten better at picking melodies out of the air to play cold) and actually get their names. It would have been so cool to know if I have CD's of any of those guys I played with but I was too chicken to ask who they were. Especially I want to know if the guys I thought looked like the Chieftains (from their many CD jackets I have) actually were. And I really need more time to research for FORLORN HOPE and PRIMA NOCHTA.
So someday soon, there's a second trip in the wings, holding me breathless with anticipation. Hopefully by then I'll have lost a person's worth of weight and will look better in photos...;op And maybe by that time we'll have a better door to put our new knocker on.
Anywho. That's my trip. 
Slainte!  

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Oh IRELAND!--Post the Quatre

Gravestone in Sneem

 Fourth Installment

May 7, 2016

Today was Muckross day. Early on, we climbed into pony traps which hauled 6 to 8 lucky tourists each. Ours was driven by a leprechaun with a twinkly smile. We road through lacy green bowers, lovely curtains of lianas and carpets of bluebells and jonquils. It was breathtakingly gorgeous. Everything was the electric green of rain-soaked earth. We even passed fields of grazing red deer and sheep. I couldn't help feeling like those lucky people in Winterhaven who look down on we plodders with their self-satisfied smirks. I tried not to, but it felt funny. Probably I should have concentrated on just enjoying the method of transportation.
The K's (-Lisa) with the Leprechaun driver (OK this one looked like a leprechaun!)

Muckross House seemed to be more of a hunting lodge than anything else. Annoyingly, they wouldn't allow pictures to be taken. It wasn't really a castle, but it was large and full of trophy heads. Some of those stag racks were enormous! Dad would have loved them. We saw the children's rooms. Clearly the people there loved their children. When they left, though, they donated all their toys to the poor.


The only thing I could take a pic of--the Gaelic         
 
The explanation

The gardens were extensive and gorgeous and again the group forsook me. It was all exploring on my own—hard to really appreciate when I didn't know what was happening with the others—whether they'd leave me there and just go. Turns out Janelle and Ju and I finally met up and after taking pics in the summerhouse, walked home while the rest rode the bus. It had begun to mist and then to rain. It wouldn't have been bad, but Janelle was like a freakin' battleship plowing inexorably onward with few stops.

Muckross Abbey
Luckily one of those stops was at Muckross Abbey. The others on the bus didn't get to explore it. I was, then, glad we'd walked. The abbey was roofless and stone. It must have been horrendously uncomfortable to sleep there. We mucked about in the graveyard and climbed up all the floors and explored every inch of it. The abbey is much older than the house, the house having been renovated several times. That feeling of great age permeated the hoary stones which rose out of the lush green jungle. 
 

Janelle and I walking home from Muckross
We had a good time swinging on lianas and taking pictures next to the stump of an enormous upended oak. By that time the mist had turned to rain. We took a short cut, which of course is the longest distance between two points. Still now and then pony traps would come up behind us, or bikes. At last we hit the main motorway and walked along it. By that time, because my sleeves were too big to fit in my jacket sleeves, the rain was wicking up my arms. After not long I began to really feel awful. When I finally made it back to the hotel, I lay down and took a nap. Then a bit later I took a jacuzzi and felt better. The damage was done, however. I'd gotten a bad cold and cough.


Swingers
The girls took off to go shopping when I got out. So, being hungry, I went to Jumping Jacks (sports pub) for a solitary dinner of a roasted ham and cheese sandwich. Man that was lonely. I finally took out my notebook and did a sketch and some little vignette bits for color later. Here are my impressions:

-The hulk of a stone wall rises from a velvet grass blanket. The clop of hooves coming up behind as pony traps pass on their way back to the city. A songbird breaks the flannel-clad silence, the notes sliding up and back down the scale.

-I feel a droplet and am instantly glad I brought the flimsy rain cape, tiny protection against the downpour.

-The rain and the week's end have driven everyone into the arms of the pub. There they find a pint, a bite, and a friend or ten. Because of the pints, the crowd's voice rises like a high tide, lapping at me, but not soaking.

-The walls are covered with rugby and football (soccer) pics, jerseys from Ciarrai (Kerry), Limerick, Cork, and Cavan.

-The Irish tricolor rises above the tables, complete with the Poblacht na H Eireann.

-Men fly back and forth from the bathroom, the trail just in front of me. It's a wet night in more ways than one.

-A football game rages on the TV above their heads, but they pay it little mind.

-Two little waitresses flutter around cleaning after a large party of half-buzzed or snockered men who charge back out into the rain or up to the front to swell the pack.

-The young man behind the till has finally spotted me. He sends a waitress with a side ponytail to bring me a hot ham and cheese sandwich and 3 kinds of potatoes. They sure love “mash” here.

-The air is soup-thick with the hoppy scent of beer and steaming wool, which swallows the creamy scent of my mash, which are now gone.

-When I can no longer endure my painfully single state, I launch myself into the drizzle, a ship hoping, at last, to fetch up against a friendly shore.

Afterwards I went walking and caught up with the girls. They were annoyed that I'd eaten already. Whatever. Mom decided we were celebrating my birthday and she gave me a CD she bought at the Gaelic Roots show. Also we went back to that Murphy's ice cream shop and the wonderful girls there treated me to a free ice cream. The bowl was cool. It was a balsa wood folded bowl with no bottom over which the sides of a paper cone folded. It was the perfect little bowl.

We bummed around looking in shops and buying atrocious touristy things. Again we saw a cool street performer--one of the better buskers I've ever listened to, and so entertaining. He sang happy birthday to me and heckled passersby. 

Insert the Ciarrai shirt story here, which is elsewhere in the blog. 
 

I think the guys loved their shirts.
(Just a note: The afternoon when we we'd first hit Killarney, we went to a sports uniform shop in a little mall and found nice jersey shirts like the ones we wanted, but they cost 50 Euros and up ($65 American).)


Unfortunately we didn't get to see the antique car museum or the cathedral inside. That's for next time I guess.

May 8, 2016
Each tree was for a fallen fireman

Today was Blarney day. We hopped into the coach and wended our way up into the hills above Cill Airne and thence on the road to Kinsale. Murt had this special place he wanted to show us all tucked away in what looked at first to be someone's pasture. 

We found, in an out-of-the-way, beautiful little place full of flowers and grass and trees, Ireland's homage to the firemen who died in 911. There is a tree planted (and plaqued) for every firefighter who laid his life down for others on that hellacious day. Clear over in Ireland they cared about our guys when their own leaders did not. Much. Lisa even found a tree for a guy she was in a wedding with (she was the bridesmaid, he was a groomsman). It really touched me how much the Irish cared.
Ireland's memorial for the firemen killed on 9/11

We started off again across the countryside towards Kinsale. It was a little fishing port, which we got to knock around in for almost an hour. Mom went to an antique show (didn't really find anything) and I and Lisa went to a bookstore. I bought my daughter's kids some little books about Irish folktales.
Lisdoonvarna--matchmaker capital of Ireland

Gorgeous rose window
After Kinsale with its colorful charm we piled into the van and stopped, almost like it was a whim, at St. Finbarr's Cathedral. Apparently there is usually a charge to go in. But I was following Cathy, whose husband, Ross, had already paid and gone in. She said that she was in search of her husband and paid. I think the guy at the counter thought that was me who said that, because I said I couldn't go in as I didn't have the fee. 
He said, “No worries. Go in and find your husband.” I didn't correct him and went and stuck to the rest of the people in the tour.
See, hear, speak, and read no evil


I love this juxtaposition of illumination and windows
What a gorgeous cathedral! Astonishingly so. It evidently has the most Old and New Testament themed stained glass windows anywhere. They were so VIBRANT with color. Gorgeous! They also had a cannonball on a chain hanging there, and lots of coats of arms and an illuminated scroll bearing the names of those who died in WWII. 

I can't imagine something like that in one of our churches or temples. Also there was a display involving an angel with two trumpets which once sat on the top of the steeple (Moroni anyone?). The story is that when that angel blows his trumps, the people of that town have a one hour jump on knowledge that the Apocalypse is happening. The thing is, I never saw that angel. I'm thinking he has gone to stand atop one of the Temples somewhere. I took lots of pictures there.

Waiting for Vizzini
Silly Jane kissed the stone
Blarney in the spring
Afterwards, we stopped at perhaps Ireland's biggest tourist draw. Blarney castle was actually fun to climb around in. Again, treacherous circular steps up to the towers, incredibly uneven floors, panting climbers, and no roof above. I took pics of several of the signs, climbed everywhere, took pictures out the arrow slits. 

I climbed up with Ju and a few others to kiss the stone. Somehow I don't have that picture, though. Lisa waited with Mom for a bit. I know Mom eventually got to the top, but I stopped waiting for Lisa. So, again, I got forgotten. Somehow they found the dungeon, which I did not. I found the Oubliette, though. I did meet Ross and Cathy in the Poison Garden, though. He did this weird chirp and his wife did too until they found each other. It was really effective. You could hear that chirp everywhere.

Ju and I at Blarney Castle
Anywho, I lost them too. I ended up going into the Rockery and doing the Wishing Stairs thing and seeing the Standing Stones, the Abbey, the dolmen and a dozen other beautiful features of the grounds. Everywhere there were riots of flowers and HUGE ancient oaks. But I'd had it with going everywhere alone, so I walked away back to the Woolen Mill Hotel where we were staying.
Gravestone in Sneem
Standing stones at Blarney gardens

Dungeon at Blarney

After a nice bath, I felt much better. Mom and I launched ourselves into the rain to find a place to eat, hopefully with the girls. Only we never found them and Mom had already eaten. They'd gone for soup for me, but I didn't want soup. I wonder what happened to it.

That night, because it was Mother's Day, we talked to our husbands on the girls' phones. I found out they gave us pie at church and my family ate all of it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Oh IRELAND!--Installment the third


Installment the third

May 5, 2016
The next morning we got up bright and early and lugged our bags out so we could catch the ferry over the River Shannon early. I climbed over the rocks while we waited for the boat to come. They were mucky and slick and I nearly fell several times. I was REALLY glad for those boots. I found a limpet and a little snail—gave that to Mom. The ferry ride was bracing. I just love the water. I don't know what it is about it, but water calms me and fills me up. I must be part plant or something. Living in the desert makes me all sandy inside.
We saw a guy with a fox and a shaggy little donkey with a dog on its back. That was a paid photo op. They really milked it too.

We did the Dingle Penninsula that day, passing through Tralee and Slea Head and Inch beach. The Blasket Islands sailed just off the coast, blueish hulks full of gannets, from which many of the people moved to Springfield, Massachusetts in large chunks.
I found nowhere that looked like the site for LEAP YEAR. Clearly they took the cliffs from the Cliffs of Moher, but I didn't really see something that looked like the Cairragh pub or the roads leading away from it. I wonder which castle they used also.
On that headland to the right is where they're filming Star Wars
Because this was a region that spoke almost completely Gaelic, they were “Gaeltacht”. I found out that “Failte Isteach” (Felcha Isteeh) means Welcome inside and “Go Mall” means drive slowly. “To let” means to rent. We saw the Three Sisters Islands, one of which was Lindbergh's first land sighting on his crossing of the ocean. I saw a pub called Tig un Muircu, which Murt said was Murphy's pub.
We ate lunch in Dingle at a little fish and chips place. The food, again, was fabulous. Love fish n' Chips.
Murt talked of “leaving certs” or graduation exams, and Fungie the Dolphin in Dingle (I think it was). He also said “The Irish will go to the opening of an envelop.” He also said, “In the valley of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” He said they say, “Cloudy or bright” instead of cloudy or sunshiny. And he said they call garage sales “car stops.”
I forget it's real name. I call it a cairn house.

We stopped several times to run down the hill and take pictures. It might have been that day that we stopped at a parking lot. Murt told us there would be a little man there who sold wild bee honey. He also sold holy water. That water just happened to be poteen (Potchin) or moonshine, which is illegal to sell. Thus the holy water. If you told him Murt said to ask for holy water, he'd sell you poteen.
I, being uninterested in poteen, went for a hike up the hill. There I found wool snagged in bushes and gathered all I could before Murt dragged us back into the bus. I “carded” all the stickers and trash out of it, lined up the skeins, and sort of finger wove some for Mom and I. Real Irish wool yarn.

How I wanted to go swimming
There were lots of rocky headlands strung together with stony beaches and some sand. The hills were punctuated with sheep and heather and the occasional cow or shaggy donkey. The weather was simply glorious. I understand that it is more often murky with fog and rain squalls. We got so lucky!
Dingle with its Fungie the Dolphin and Charlie Chaplin statue (Chaplin had a home out on the coast that he loved.) was quite charming. I found a linen store in which I hoped to find lace sheers. I really really want a set for our windows. I only found a pretty table runner and lace heart.
A ring fort right out there in the open!
The houses in Ireland are much the same. They sit longways to the road. There are two to four windows evenly spaced on either side of the door. The door is brightly colored and often had a doorknob in the middle of the door. In windy places (like Dingle) they have a board or cement or metal piece which hangs over the shingles on each end of the house to trap the shingles from flying off. I don't remember what Murt called those. Each window would have lace sheers and the house would look impeccable. You don't see rusting cars anywhere. 

The quintessential Irish house
You don't see clutter. It's all neat and clean and well-kept. Often there would be a rocky ruin next to the house, as if that had been where they'd lived for hundreds of years previously.

That evening we drove into Killarney (Cill Airne), Murt's home town. You could really tell how proud he was of it, and of the Caireigh football (soccer) team. We stayed in Killarney Towers on Plunkett street for that night and two others. We K's of course went wandering, looking for good shopping and great music. We ranged all down Main and High street, where we found Murphy's ice cream shop. The girls there were really sweet and gave us tastes of which ever ice cream we wanted.
Night in Killarney
There was a street performer down there who was so with it that he kept up a running patter, teasing the passersby. I asked him to play TELL ME MA, which he did. He was really nice, so I gave him a few Euros. He was absolutely hilarious. When a little boy ran up and gave him money, he said, “I love children. I have a couple of children of my own at home. In the freezer.” That got him a laugh. There were several. When an Italian group came and gave him money, he played an Italian song so well that they were all singing along.
These guys were really GOOD!
I think it was this night that we went across the street to another hotel and saw the show Caelic Roots, a show like Riverdance. There were three girl dancers, one boy dancer, one girl harpist, two guys playing instruments and three girls who sang. The main girl dancer really really looked like a heshe. I'm not the only one who thought that. She had loads of makeup on and a really masculine face. Mom bought their CD and later gave it to me. (It turned out to be some really nice non-Irish songs.) I really enjoyed the show.
Dinner was great that night. I forget what I ate, but all my meals were pretty darn good there. I'm so glad I didn't wuss out and just have burgers. Lisa, Ju, and I ended up at the pub downstairs in the hotel. Every night that place had a different rockin' band. Mom was amazed that I knew most of the music. It was wonderful. Mom ended up going swimming with some of the other women from the tour. I don't know if they actually got to swim though. I know she at least had a jacuzi, because she left the hot water in for me. Thanks, Mom.
May 6, 2016
This was the Ring of Kerry day. It's a 100 mile circle around Iveragh Peninsula which includes Killorglin, Glenbeigh, Cahirciveen or Cahersiveen (pronounced Car sigh bean), Waterville, Caherdaniel, Sneem, Kenmare, and then Killarney, beautiful little towns. Inside that ring is a national forest and the mountain, Carrauntoohil, one of their taller peaks at 1039 meters.

That morning, after a lovely breakfast, we loaded up and traveled past emerald pastures full of fluffy lambs to a Sheep dog demonstration. First the farmer introduced us to his sheep. One of them had four horns. Then he let the sheep go way up to an upper pasture and he introduced his two dogs. He never spoke above a normal house voice. He said if you had to yell at your dog, the dog simply didn't want to listen to you, because the dog can hear for a LONG way. Then he showed us. Each dog had his or her own set of whistles which told the dog where to go and what to do.
 
Sheep dog fun
 Those dogs cut lone sheep from the herd, nudged them down the hill, took them right or left. All kinds of things. At first I thought one of the dogs might be older and needed a rest, because he would lie down while the other dog did everything. But no. He simply hadn't had his set of directions yet. Soon he got them and took off heading the sheep exactly where the farmer wanted them. I half expected to see Babe, the Pig there somewhere.
Where the heck is Babe?
As we traveled through Cahersiveen and Glenbeigh, Murt talked more about the 1916 uprising, because Daniel O'Connell was born there. He said this region was also Gaeltacht or Gaelic-speaking. He said Yeats once wrote, “Now in Ireland a terrible beauty has been born.” I really liked that saying. One of the religious leaders also said, “God has no country” meaning He doesn't take sides. 
Tea with Janelle and Moncai Rua and Patty
 
We stopped at a little B&B in a town whose name escapes me. Murt knows the people there, and arranged for us to have tea there. The scones were piping hot and straight from the oven. We had them with clotted cream and black or raspberry preserves. OUTSTANDINGLY SCRUMPY! The little sandwiches were delicious as well. And I had vanilla tea, very yummy. It turns out that the actress (Katherine someone whose name eludes me right now) who played opposite John Wayne in The Quiet Man often stayed at that B&B. She liked the proprietor so much that she kind of adopted him and would often stay there. They allowed us to go upstairs and see her room. I took a pic with Moncai Rua there.
Scrumpy scone with clotted cream and blackberry preserves
You have to understand that that monkey went everywhere. I had three of them. So one went into many of our pictures, and one was mainly for putting somewhere on a person's clothing in the group. They had to pass it to someone in the group without them knowing. I don't think everyone got it, but I know Cathy, Heathyr, the other Cathy, Lilly, and Frank all got him. I think either Jane or Sharon got him too. Moncai Rua.
Charley Chaplain's house
Anywho, we saw the Skelligs (Little S and S Michael) which are both uninhabited by anything but gannets. We also saw the peninsula where they're filming the next (and the last) Star Wars movies. Apparently that whole peninsula is locked up tight. We saw it and Carl took pics of it with his telephoto lens. We also saw some rocky crannogs (little round houses built out of stones).
Gravestone in Sneem
We went to a little village called Sneem and for some reason, Murt, the flash-past driver let us out for nearly an hour. I had the strongest urge to take pictures of the gravestones there in the church yard. I didn't really have that push anywhere else. I mean there were some cool St Brigid's crosses elsewhere, but in Sneem I really felt inspired to take pics. I tried to get many of them, but there was little time, and lots of the headstones had been scoured smooth by the winds of time. Those pics were some of the few I still have. They may or may not lead to my own treasure trove, but perhaps they'll be the answer to someone else's burning question, which will lead to our people.
I really wish I'd heard more of the lesson that day, because it really interests me about the Uprising. I've long felt Ireland and Scotland should be free of Britain. Unfortunately, the bus lulled me to sleep with its swaying more than once and I'd wake to hear the tempting tail end of another little tidbit. I should have at least jotted down names and dates, and names of the monuments I took pics of. Unfortunately, I didn't. I couldn't pry my eyes open for much of the day. It was that rocking bus.
What I came away with is that the Irish are fiercely patriotic, and Murt is no different, though he says he doesn't agree with some of the IRA's methods and practices. He let us know that the IRA wasn't the only militant faction, or even the worst. There was one that started with a U that was more vicious. Unfortunately, sometimes violence is called for. Look at our war for independence. Look at France's truly horrible little war.
We're everywhere, especially pubs

We came down from the mountains past a string of lakes and stopped at a place called Lady's View to look at the lakes. Lady's View is where Queen Elizabeth 2 and her ladies in waiting once had a picnic overlooking the valley. Thus the name. Then down through the national forest there near Killarney. In one places there was a “Shebeen” or moonshine bar. It was illegal since they sold poteen there, so people had to be very careful going there, especially since the fine for “drink driving” is extremely stiff and you lose your license for years.

That night we K's hiked all over town, taking pictures in a pair of giant hands, and all kinds of other places. Carl came with us. We saw the guys at one place but didn't stay long. Mom celebrated her birthday with ice cream, a lovely meal, and a free CD from the band playing that night in the hotel pub. It was so fun going all over with her. She had an umbrella and kept losing it places. I'd find it and give it back to her. Then she lost it and I couldn't find it. The lovely and oh so kind woman at the woolen store said, “Ah no worries. Here.” And she caught up a new umbrella, tore off the tags, and gave it to me. I told her if I found it, I'd bring that one back, but she declined. “It's a gift,” she said. Mom was thrilled to have a new one. Later she found hers in her back pack. Mom was a real trooper, although I'm sure her ankle really hurt. I made sure to massage her foot several times and she took nice hot baths also.